I am married to … ‘Clangers’. So named to protect the innocent and describe the sound he makes as ‘he passes on by’ immediately before he collects an out of the way piece of furniture, manages to empty the contents of the kitchen cupboards on the way down, crashing without ceremony, warning or any explanation involving the laws of physics in to the very same something, you wish he didn’t.
I don’t know why the Men Folk are made this way and the Women Folk are not. I did not make these rules. I am not responsible for this design feature – I just need to ‘be’ with the results. And so, I am penning ‘The Clangers’ Report’ – part confessional, part coping mechanism and partially an attempt to ‘whistle’ – loudly whilst pointing and looking away,
WTF? … AND WE ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER. RIGHT?
So each day, a little moment or if you are lucky – a few moments await to meet you where you can feel what it is like to be yourself. And that’s good. You know – fine, no complaints but if you cast your eye a little wider, look yonder and further and survey the moments across a year – I tell you there is a couple of Perfect Days which are magically made up of many of these lovely delicious moments strung across a year. You cannot look out for, order or in any other way control the arrival of such a day. It is orchestrated by the magic of the innocent and the spontaneity of the brave. Both these capabilities are the Golden Ticket to the Wonderland that can be found in the present moment. I will confess, a little drinkie or two helps you glide from one moment to the next.
Cast your mind back, if you will, to Cup Day. Yes – that Crazy Horse Race that happens in Melbourne, first Tuesday in November. The Race runs at 3:00PM and if you are not in Melbourne, like, everywhere else in Australia … you’ll be listening or thinking about the race being called. Sweepstakes are big everywhere else.
My first Melbourne Cup Day in Melbourne, some time ago now – like before Google, I dolled myself up in hat, handbag, slip dress and shoes, swathed in lavender hues, only to discover those indigenous to Melbourne are a bit non-plussed about Fashion on the Field, not to mention the Cup itself. They all frumped it up in wet weather gear, camouflage brown ponchos and sensible shoes. It was necessary for me to limp home, barefoot with pumps in hand but pride intact. Look to the weather friends – it never lies, except for the chemtrails. Fashion on the other hand, I was congratulated on, possibly encouraged … I think the comment was, “It’s great you made an effort”, which was ‘noice’, I guess.
There is a holiday for Cup Day. Well there’s an official one on Tuesday and an unofficial one on Monday. Clangers and I, though overwhelmed with invites to tents and river cruises from which to enjoy the spectacle, politely declined and instead decided to head off to a … as we say, “Win-ry”. Am not sure how this started, but it translates as Winery to the uninitiated. The decision was taken for the following uncomplicated reasons … there will be a) Wine b) Food c) Less people (preferred by introverts) – all at the CUP.
We got decked out in expandable pants, comfortable shoes, bit of lippy some of which ended up on Clangers. We climbed aboard the Bat-Mobile and went. We almost used the map and dart board to decide which and where. The Yarra Valley and all its concommitant delights are just over our back fence, so there were many ‘wine-ries’ to choose from. We choose Tarra Warra for their fabulous wine, wonderful food, atmosphere and vibe. Wine is many wonderful things. It is part medicine and part historical annal or record of the sunlight soaked up by the grapes grown that year. Like anything … too much of a good thing, can be ‘wonderful’.
You can go in for lots of planning and analysis, and I am all for plans when needed because without them the wheels fall off fairly predictably but there is also a time for letting go and sinking in to the dream we all dream together. And this is what Clangers and I did on Cup Day.
We arrived at the Winry and miraculously found a park. We were early, another miracle. Clangers has now taken to telling me that we need to leave for the airport about 2 hours before we actually do. Not sure if this worrying trend is why we were early, but there was a noteably enjoyable flow to the day. Our table was not ready, on account of our spectacular organization, so … I espied two people outside on the deck enjoying a peach hued bottle of wine and thought,”That is my future self I see”. So we scored our own, bottle, table and spot on the deck and the day of perfecting doing nothing commenced.
The sun was shining, the wine was fine and the mood and moment stayed frozen in a stated of suspended animation and joy. We had a beautiful day talking nonsense. Not exactly ‘sweet nothings’, possibly ‘sweet nonsense’ – can’t remember a word of it. Possibly you could ask Clangers? We moved from deck to inside table, then to outside table and enjoyed the simplest and most beautifully prepared, perfectly suited meal I have eaten in as long as I can remember. I could tell you what we ate, but the meeting of moment, mood, talent, hunger, sunlight and company would not be conveyed. We shared a meal I will never forget.
The vibe in the restaurant that day was full of harmony, enjoyment of wine, food, company and life. The horse race was far away. The usual relationship conversations and opportunities for learning parenthood were happening all around us. After we completed this most preferred meal which came to an end with a tiny bit of longing, not for more – we had sufficient, but that the moment be lengthened a little longer. It was ending or maybe I should say changing. We went outside, a missed the opportunity to lounge on hospitably placed bean bag cushion seats did not leave a sense of scarcity or sorrow because … the grass and sun was calling.
We stretched out an the softest and at the same time spikey grass and soaked up the sun and sky. The weather was warm but not hot. The breeze was gentle not harsh. Sometimes such moments of connection happen, where I truly felt connected to the earth and sky and all the crazy drama of being human and a member of the human family. I felt present and peaceful and grateful.
Not all days are like this. Across a year not many are. It’s also true that not many families function the way I saw families there that day be with each other. There was a big sister telling a little brother how to correctly roll down the hill. Despite his efforts and her attention, he could not manage it yet. And then there was another little sister in red pants, aged about two. Loved her pants, too long for her and who had not allowed either parent to brush her hair for many weeks. There were parents vaguely interested who predictably disciplined the wrong kid when they could be vague no more.
It’s true in life, it is not possible to keep people who are destructive, hostile or harsh too close for too long even if those people are family members. Learning how to be in relationship with yourself, with others and the world is a life long quest. Getting it wrong is part of that journey. Getting it right is both a privilege and an achievement and for some, a future possibility and dream for others.